A very beautiful piece of scripture with wonderful symbolism has passed through the hands of too many people and made bitter.
Ephesians 5:21-33 talks about the wonderful and rich relationship that can exist between husbands and wives and compares it to the relationship between Christ and the church.
One woman I know says that when she meditates on these passages and thinks of Jesus and Him nurturing and cherishing her, she is swept off her feet in worship. But when she meditates on these scriptures and thinks of her domineering and verbally abusive husband everything inside her tenses up and she's better off not thinking of them, otherwise she becomes resentful.
This woman has had the experience of having sweet waters made bitter by the traditions of men and the abuses of her husband. What Paul wrote in Ephesians was meant to bless men and women, but unfortunately it has been used against women, sending them back home to submit to a tyrant, all in the name of obedience to God.
The church has commanded abused women to drink bitter waters and then judged these women when they have gagged on these waters and spit them back out.
The worst part of all this is that there are so many more passages of scripture offering so much comfort and peace for these women who have suffered oppression in their marriage. But all some churches offer is the bitter waters of return and submit to the oppression.
Hopefully in the next few weeks we can explore together the sweet and living waters that Jesus Christ offers to all who are afflicted and see just how much He loves and cares for, nourishes and cherishes those the church so lightly esteems.